One Year on a Keto Diet

Like everything else in life, it feels like a long time, yet it feels like a very short time. No matter the relative time, this last year has been life-changing, that is for sure.

Want to catch up on my monthly updates? Start here with Month 1

When putting together all that I wanted to share with you about the last year of my ketogenic diet, I looked back at the diary I started at the beginning, when I still considered it a 90-day experiment. Here is what I wrote about 2.5 weeks in:

“Why did I do this?

So many reasons! I was in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) last year and in addition to the chronic pain in my legs, I’ve also been having a really long list of other symptoms (fatigue, lightheadedness, cognitive impairment, gastroparesis, heartburn, extreme hypoglycemia symptoms, uncontrollable appetite, extremely high CRP (inflammation marker), etc.) that I think are related to a mild brain injury and Post Traumatic Hypopituitarism. So I wanted to see if this WOE could help heal my brain. Also, dementia runs on both sides of my family (one side is dead, other side was just sent to assisted living due to it). Family history of diabetes. Metabolic Syndrome (I currently fit the criteria). Low HDL cholesterol. AND I really wanted to learn all I could about keto because I’m a nutritionist and if it worked as well as everyone says it does, then I can’t wait to take it to my clients. (I’m about 2.5 weeks in and so far I’m feeling FANTASTIC and more and more motivated each day to keep going. Improvements I’ve seen already: pain in my legs is nearly gone, cognition is nearly as good as pre-MVA, gastroparesis gone, heartburn gone, CRP dropped 62%, hypoglycemia symptoms gone, and appetite normalized. I haven’t had my cholesterol numbers checked yet, but I’m sure things are improving there, too.

I’ve never been able to follow any kind of diet plan in the past due to extreme feelings of deprivation and constant hunger. And as far as the middle path, mindful eating, intuitive eating, all that stuff I used to teach to all my clients, well, that is what lead me to all the health problems and 50 pound weight gain over 10 years! However, with keto, although it is very restrictive (still plenty to eat though!), it has been way easier for me to stick to, mostly because of the threat of having to start over with the fat adaptation process. It isn’t that fun to go through and takes some time, and I don’t want to start that all over again. The other reason it has been easier is that my appetite is more normal rather than ravenous because my body is actually getting an efficient fuel source.”

Video Updates

This month I decided to do two videos. One is a montage of all my monthly progress photos so you can really see the body transformation. The second video is a verbal update of all the health improvements plus other things that have happened over the last month.

Full Year of Monthly Progress Pictures

My 12-Month Update

What I share on my video:

    • Review of what made me start a keto diet
    • Weight loss history
    • My intermittent fasting experience
    • My visit to Levl Now lab in Seattle, a company creating a new breath ketone meter
    • My Top 5 Tips for long-term success on keto
    • Details of my Instagram giveaway!

Before and After Keto

Health Improvements:

  • Weight: 220 pounds to 161.2 pounds
  • Body Fat: 40% to 28.9%
  • Waist: 40 inches to 30 inches
  • Inflammation dropped (CRP down almost 70%)
  • Clean, whiter teeth
  • Skin tags on my neck are all gone
  • Heat tolerance (now I love the sun and heat! I used to get super sweaty all the time and hated the heat)
  • Normal sleep times (All my life, I had been a night owl, naturally staying up until 2 or 3 am. After the accident and my PTHP symptoms, I could not sleep at night at all and often could not sleep until 6 or 7 am. Now I am sleeping by about 11 pm and up around 7 am. My central sleep apnea is much improved as well.)
  • No more non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (something I recently realized that I haven’t even mentioned here)
  • Normal blood pressure (after the accident, it was high enough I was considering taking medication)
  • No more stiff ankles in the morning (pre-accident symptom)
  • No more head twitch (something I had not reported here yet, but something else that I remember from pre-accident and pre-keto was a random, uncontrollable head twitch)
  • Mental and nervous system function greatly improved (after the accident, I was having issues with words getting jumbled when speaking or typing, along with frequently dropping things)
  • No more popping jaw (TMJ)
  • Normal digestion (no GERD, no heartburn, no gastroparesis, normal bowel movements, no gas or bloating)
  • Lightheadedness nearly gone (post accident symptom)
  • Chronic leg pain nearly gone (no edema or swelling, still having some hypersensitivity late at night (allodynia) but not intolerable)
  • No more dry elbows
  • Very soft skin
  • Clear skin
  • Plenty of energy for all day (post accident fatigue was debilitating)
  • Exercise endurance (I can go hiking for hours without any food)
  • And much more than I’m remembering right now!

Come Do Keto with Me!

Let me show you the way. My 90-Day Keto Diet Program teaches you all I’ve learned along the way, plus gives you the tools to make this a long-term health solution.

Mikayla is powered by ketones for college performance

Keto Chat Episode 16 is with my intern, Mikayla. She is an undergrad at Seattle University and nearly finished with her bachelor of science degree in sports and exercise science.

What we talk about:

  • How she originally found keto
  • What it was like starting a ketogenic diet while in college in San Diego
  • What health improvements she’s experienced
  • Who else she’s converted to keto and their motivation to keep going for long-term health
  • Her keto struggles and tips for navigating them
  • What she plans to do after graduation

What health improvements have you notice on keto?

Moving away from a vegetarian diet transformed Randy Webb’s health

Keto Chat Episode 14 is with Randy Webb, Licensed Professional Counselor in Arizona and Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Washington. Randy was my counseling internship supervisor when I was completing my graduate degree in 2012, and at that time, he was a vegetarian. When I went to visit Phoenix in March 2016, I was excited to talk to Randy about a couple of  the therapies he’s passionate about. But then I discovered that he had a big surprise for me regarding his diet!

What we talk about:

  • Randy’s surprise development of metabolic syndrome, fatigue, sleep trouble, and kidney issues when he was eating, what he thought was, a health diet.
  • His journey from a low-fat, high carb, vegetarian diet to a lower carb, omnivorous diet
  • Who inspired Randy to look at his diet and give up oatmeal and consider eating sardines for breakfast
  • What health improvements he’s seen since changing his diet
  • Which dietary change had the biggest impact on his health markers
  • How Randy became interested in hypnotherapy
  • How trauma can lead to mindless eating, emotional eating, or stress eating and what can be done about it
  • How EMDR therapy empowers a person to build their own internal resources for health and well-being as opposed to other talk therapy that focuses on identifying and changing what is “wrong” with a person

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11 Months Keto Update, MCT oil experiment, and carb up opinion

I’m trying out a new format this month for my ketogenic diet update – video!


If you are new to this series, you can catch up on all my monthly updates: Month 1, Month 2, Month 3, Month 4, Month 5, Month 6, Month 7, Month 8, Month 9, Month 10


What do I talk about in my 11 month update?

  • My weight
  • What I’m eating
  • Update on dairy-free: will I continue dairy free?
  • Hair regrowth: does hair loss mean keto is bad for my thyroid?
  • Ketone blood strips: Have I been doing keto wrong all this time?
  • MCT oil vs. coconut oil: which is better in coffee for ketosis?
  • Why do some people get hungry after drinking Bulletproof coffee?
  • My opinions on carb ups (spoiler alert: don’t do it!)
  • Continuing health issues after car accident: leg pain and central apnea

Here is the Keto Talk with Jimmy Moore and Doc Nally, that I reference, where they talk about carb ups being unnecessary for women.


Are you struggling with your keto diet? Or maybe you’re ready to try it out for the first time? Check out my 90-Day Keto Diet Challenge Program. I give you easy formulas to meet your macros, weekly live webinars with me, menus and shopping lists, plus group support.

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Keto Chat: Jim Kellner shares how hypnosis helped him lose weight on a low carb approach

While I was in Phoenix, Arizona a few weeks ago, I sat down with Jim Kellner in his office to chat about how hypnosis can help change habits to support weight loss. Jim is a hypnotherapist and comedian, and as it turned out, Jim had used hypnosis himself to lose weight on a low carb, nearly ketogenic diet.

Watch and listen as we have fun chatting about how stage hypnosis differs from hypnotherapy for optimal performance.

And stick around until the end where Jim hypnotizes me! Do I quack like a duck or bark like a dog? Or do I make Jim a pie?

Speaking of pie, here is my Keto Chocolate Cream Pie recipe that we talk about in the video.

For more info about Jim Kellner, go here.


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10 Months on a Ketogenic Diet

Ten months means I’m only two months away from being a full year on a ketogenic diet. What will that feel like? And what should I do to celebrate?  Since I was late posting my 9 Month update, I was concerned that I wouldn’t have much to report for my ten month update considering it has only been two weeks since my last update. However, much has happened in the last two weeks.

In case you’re new to my Keto Diet story and my remarkable health transformation, or simply want a refresher, you can catch up here: Month 1, Month 2, Month 3, Month 4, Month 5, Month 6, Month 7, Month 8, Month 9, Month 10, Month 11

Improved Mood

Winters in the Pacific Northwest can be brutal, but not in a snow-and-sleet-and-freezing-temps kind of way. (For reference, it is March right now as I write this.) Northwest winters are long, dark days of grey, dreary, drizzly, cool temperatures that can wreak havoc on a person’s mood. Anyone susceptible to depression can be challenged each year when January or February rolls around in the northwest, having just survived another calendar quarter of grey days. My genetics make me one of those people that are susceptible to winter depression, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Another keto win and unexpected benefit is that this year my mood is the best it has ever been at this time of year. While I still feel that tug of depression, it is simply an awareness of it rather than an all consuming mood of a heavy, inescapable wet blanket. I’ve been very impressed with this relief compared to past years of my life. And while my mood has been remarkably better, I still felt the need to get away to the sun and warmth! I decided to reach out to friends in the Phoenix area and take refuge from the grey drizzle and hopefully find some warmth of the sunshine. I would soon happily find myself in 80 – 90 degree weather. Big smiley face.

Travel to Phoenix

While my trip to Phoenix started out as a simple respite from my northwest winter, it quickly turned into a serendipitous adventure of meeting people that have reduced carbohydrate intake in one way or another to help improve their health. The trip was the perfect balance of deeply rewarding work and relaxation. My relaxation included reunions with high school and college friends (has it really been 24 years?!?), soaking up sun by the pool, and of course an In-N-Out burger (Double Double, Protein Style)! My work included these Keto Chat interviews:

All these videos will be coming soon, so be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

AZ Mar 2016
I was surprised to find some of my favorite colors in Phoenix.

Hair Regrowth

Significant weight loss is a huge stressor on the body. When the body is under significant stress, it prioritizes growth and regeneration away from fast growing cells, like hair and nails. I mentioned this in previous posts, but I’ll reiterate here, that what I found in looking through literature was that any kind of diet that produces significant weight loss has the potential to cause hair loss, which I experienced during my nearly 60 pound weight loss. My literature review also made me confident that the hair loss would be temporary, and that once my weight stabilized, my hair would grow back. My weight has been stable for the last 4 months. About 2 weeks ago, I noticed that I have a surprising amount of about 2 – 3 inches of new hair growth at the crown of my head. It makes for interesting work styling my hair now, but I’m excited to have burgeoning luscious locks of hair.

I received further evidence of my good health when I stopped in at an Aveda salon in Phoenix to grab some dry shampoo that I couldn’t bring on the airplane with me. After hearing my proclamation of my oily hair (always has been that way), the stylist offered me a scalp analysis because she suggested that an oily scalp can actually be a sign of dry skin. I laughed a bit, knowing that my skin was very well moisturized from the inside out from all the fat I eat. But I humored her a bit, mostly because I wanted more proof that my body is healthy. She took a nearly microscopic digital photo of my scalp, which revealed three things: my scalp is very health (not dry), my hair follicles all have 2 hairs each (if there were less than this, it is a sign of balding or thinning), and I also have more baby fine hair growing in between my existing hair. The last part was really exciting because in addition to the 2 – 3 inch growth I can see, I have even more hair starting to grow. It seems I will soon have the thickest hair of my life.

All this hair growth is an exceptionally good sign that my body is in very good health.

10 Month Keto Progress
My 10 month keto anniversary happened while I was in Phoenix on vacation. I bought this new bikini bottom just for the trip. Are you ready to take the 90 Day Keto Diet Challenge?

Dairy Free Update

About a month ago, I decided to do a dairy-free month for two reasons. One, in support of my son, who decided to see how much more his acne would improve, and two, because I was becoming concerned about the amount of heavy whipping cream I was consuming. It was standard operating procedure in our house to have a large batch of whipped heavy whipping cream on hand to go on coffee. It was quite delicious, but that was part of the problem. It was so delicious that over time, I began wanting more, and more, and more, which is a sign of the addictive part of my brain being triggered. It was time to give it a rest and see how I felt.

We quickly realized that dairy, especially cheese, was a convenience food in our house. Without that quick and easy, grab-and-go food, I began exploring alternatives. I found some dairy-free cream cheese alternatives, but they were too expensive to grab much of our attention. We soon settled on nuts as our new quick and easy snack, but being mindful of portion size when we do. One trick I use to minimize mindless nut snacking is to keep them in the freezer. We will grab only a small handful and then put them back. Keeping them in the freezer keeps them out of sight, plus is a reminder that they need to be eaten only in limited quantities. We’ve also been using more coconut oil and coconut milk.

Now I’ll admit, I haven’t been 100% dairy free (although my son has). When out to eat, I would have cheese on my burger or salad, and occasionally I would get an Americano from Starbucks with heavy cream. But at home, we were 100% dairy free, and that is where I consume most of my meals.

What did I notice after a month of dairy-free? At first, I really, really missed the whipped cream in my coffee! Coffee just wasn’t as exciting any more. It really was something I looked forward to each morning when I woke up, so I had to go through a bit of a mourning period. I tried making coconut whipped cream, but it just wasn’t the same, but I did end up making coconut milk and coconut oil “creamer” for our coffee and it’s a nice compromise (but still not as good as whipped cream!).  I also noticed that I had slightly less body inflammation, as evidenced by my massage therapist being able to work deeper, but that has only come after several weeks.

food in AZ Mar 2016
Some of the delicious keto food I ate while on vacation in Phoenix, AZ. See more on my Instagram.

Weight

For the most part, I haven’t tracked my food intake for at least the last 3 months. I use the simple meal formula that I teach my clients in my 90 Day Challenge Program, and while in the beginning it was important to weigh and track all food, the meal formula quickly teaches you how to do this long-term, so you don’t have to track food forever. My weight has been stable, within about 5 pounds, for the last 4 months. You can see from the graph below that I had a whoosh the end of November/beginning of December, losing 7 pounds in only 1 week. After that, my weight was stable, perhaps even trending upward a bit, for the next month, followed by another small whoosh of 4 pounds over 4 days in early February. This was when I started my 5 X 5 weight lifting program, however I found that it startlingly stimulated my appetite, so I paused the program until I could research the best way to do this. I now understand that this is normal, and that I was not eating enough calories to compensate, which is why my appetite felt out of whack compared to what I was used to. I plan to reinstate my 5 X 5 workouts in the next couple of weeks, when I can more carefully monitor what I’m eating to ensure adequate calories while staying in ketosis.

Keto weight loss graph Sept 25 2016 to Mar 22 2016

That last three dots that make a straight line? That was before and after my trip to Phoenix. I was pretty impressed with myself, my body, and keto, that even while on vacation I could eat freely, simply following my appetite and maintain my weight, while eating foods such as an entire bag of macadamia nuts, a fast food double cheeseburger (minus the bun), 1 cup of heavy cream in my coffee, eggs and cheese, quadruple creamy dressing on my salads, 4 strips of bacon plus a 3 egg omelet, several pats of butter on top of my side dish, twice eating 10 chicken wings dipped in lots of blue cheese dressing, and more.

Upcoming One Year Keto Anniversary

What suggestions do you have about how I should celebrate my one year keto diet anniversary? I’m thinking I should do some kind of giveaway…


Take the 90 Day Keto Challenge

Are you ready to take the keto plunge? You should join my next 90 Day Keto Diet Challenge Program. Everything you need to succeed on a ketogenic diet: weekly live webinars with me, weekly menus and shopping lists, workbook, and private Facebook support group.

Get more info here.

90 day keto challenge program


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Keto Chat Episode 6: Amy’s weight loss and pain relief

During episode 6 of Keto Chat, I interviewed Amy about her success on the 90 Day Keto Challenge Program.

Amy started the 90 Day Challenge in hopes of alleviating her plantar fasciitis pain and be able to resume running again. Along with pain relief, she also found that keto is the easiest diet she’s every tried and is really enjoying the program. Check out her great tip, too, for staying keto while eating out.


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